In 2010 Willow Creek Presbyterian Church in Winter Springs, Florida, contacted Ridge Haven to inquire about reserving the camp for a men’s retreat. The church leadership had one clear directive for the camp: Make the weekend intense enough that no one gets bored.

Willow Creek sent Ridge Haven its materials from previous retreats, and Ridge Haven went to work customizing the established format to suit Ridge Haven’s resources. By the first evening, many of the Willow Creek men had requested Tylenol.

Since 2010 Ridge Haven has made Men’s Adventure Weekends a regular offering, and the intense format in a beautiful setting keeps churches returning year after year.

Ridge Haven’s amenities — including a mud pit, ropes courses, obstacle course, climbing tower, and staff-led games — make it an ideal setting for men to engage in rigorous challenges together. And the camp’s 700-acre campus also allows groups the space for hiking and reflecting in the beauty of God’s creation. The customizable format means the camp can adapt the weekend to suit the needs of any group.

Each church brings its own speaker and worship team, and Ridge Haven takes care of the lodging, food, and activities. The services provided by Ridge Haven mean church leaders do not have to spend time setting up activities and can instead focus on the more important aspects of the weekend, such as cultivating relationships.

Steve Cobb, Ridge Haven’s guest services manager, said the adventure weekend “is a chance for men to get together — as iron sharpens iron — fellowshipping and sharing with each other.”

The men’s adventure retreats have sparked an increase in Ridge Haven’s overall retreat bookings as men return home and share their experiences with the women in the church.

Jesse Allen is part of the team planning Willow Creek’s annual men’s retreat. He said the men from his church love the variety of activities offered at Ridge Haven and the way the staff helps make the weekend memorable.

“The staff is overwhelmingly accommodating and great to be around. They do a great job facilitating whatever theme the group is trying to do that year,” Allen said.

And churches are willing to make the drive to western North Carolina to experience what Ridge Haven has to offer. Allen said his group gladly makes the 10-hour trek. “It is one of the longer drives we do, but it is definitely worth it,” he said.

“Many groups found the drive itself was a benefit because men started opening up and sharing on the drive to the camp,” Cobb said. “We’ve never heard a group say it wasn’t worth the drive.”

For more information on retreats at Ridge Haven, contact Steve Cobb at 1-877-862-3916 or steve@ridgehaven.org.